The new law regulates different types of remote working, such as permanent or temporary remote employment, as well as the bureaucracy around it. If you are employing remotely in Russia as of 2021, you will need to know how to employ correctly. Here is all the information you need to stay compliant, protect your company, and support your remote employees.
Types of Remote Employment
Temporary remote employment can only be up to 6 months. If an employee is being transferred to remote working temporarily, their salaries can’t be cut provided their workload stays the same.
Permanent remote employees are protected by the same laws as in-house workers or temporary remote workers.
Employees can also work both remotely and in the office, which amounts to a hybrid working model. There is no set time frame limiting this working model.
Working Hours, Rest Periods, & Paid Leave
Russia’s labour code states that the maximum weekly working hours are 40 hours. Anything over this limit is considered overtime. Employers must obtain prior written consent for any overtime worked. In addition, overtime is limited to 120 hours a year. The first 2 hours of overtime in a day is paid at 150% the normal rate, while any hours in excess of that are paid at 200% the normal rate.
Moreover, weekends must last for at least 42 consecutive hours. The legal amount of annual leave is 28 days a year. In addition, Russia also has 14 public holidays, which employees can work, but only in extraordinary circumstances.
Most importantly, after working hours are fulfilled in a day, remote workers are considered to be off-line and don’t have to be in contact with their employer.
Interactions Between Employer and Employee
Any interaction between an employer and employee is considered to be part of the employee’s working hours. This is important for remote workers to ensure they are not working extra hours from home for free.
A new bureaucratic requirement is that employers must use enhanced qualified electronic signature, and employees must use a enhanced qualified or unqualified electronic signature. This applies when signing, changing, or terminating employment agreements, material liability agreements, and apprenticeship agreements.
Supporting Remote Workers
A crucial aspect of the new regulation is the requirement for employers to materially support remote workers. We have seen this around the world with government and company policies like remote work allowance.
In Russia, employers must provide remote workers with the necessary equipment and means to fulfil their work duties remotely. This can include things like software, office chairs, and desks. Employers are legally required to reimburse their employees for their equipment.
Grounds for Dismissal
The new regulation also brings in new rules regarding dismissal. These are in addition to given laws on termination. All remote employees can be terminated if they do not get in contact with their employers for 2 consecutive working days for no admissible reason. The employer can set a longer timeframe than 2 days if they wish.
A permanent remote employee also can be dismissed if they relocate to a different place where the same employment conditions, as initially agreed upon, won’t hold.
Crucially, according to the new law, employers do not have the right to add other grounds for dismissal to the employment agreement.
According to the standard dismissal regulations in Russia’s labour code, employees can be dismissed if their work worsens for no justifiable reason. This includes after relocating. However, this is only if an employee’s work repeatedly falls short of the expected standard for no justifiable reason and after the employee has been disciplined and no improvements were made in the last 12 months. The same applies to remote workers.